Tomato’s Green Gold: Bioeconomy Potential of Residual Tomato Leaf Biomass as a Novel Source for the Secondary Metabolite Rutin

Laura Junker-Frohn, Manuel Lueck, Simone Schmittgen, Joana Wensing, Laura Carraresi, Bjoern Thiele, Tanja Groher, Julia Reimer, Stefanie Broering, Georg Noga, Andreas Jupke, Ulrich Schurr, Bjoern Usadel, Anika Wiese-Klinkenberg, Alexandra Wormit

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17 Citations (Web of Science)


At the end of the annual horticultural production cycle of greenhouse-grown crops, large quantities of residual biomass are discarded. Here, we propose a new value chain to utilize horticultural leaf biomass for the extraction of secondary metabolites. To increase the secondary metabolite content of leaves, greenhouse-grown crop plants were exposed to low-cost abiotic stress treatments after the last fruit harvest. As proof of concept, we evaluated the production of the flavonoid rutin in tomato plants subjected to nitrogen deficiency. In an interdisciplinary approach, we observed the steady accumulation of rutin in young plants under nitrogen deficiency, tested the applicability of nitrogen deficiency in a commercial-like greenhouse, developed a high efficiency extraction for rutin, and evaluated the acceptance of the proposed value chain by its key actors economically. On the basis of the positive interdisciplinary evaluation, we identified opportunities and challenges for the successful establishment of horticultural leaf biomass as a novel source for secondary metabolites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19071-19080
Number of pages10
JournalAcs omega
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

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